Developpment: my work in Haïti
I'm new to this area, thus most of my work is still "in progress". Yet it is already possible to delineate some research directions.
Since 2007, I'm personally involved in a development project in the North-East of Haïti, one of the poorest region of the country. In 2011, I also started to teach in various universities of that same country through the "Chaires Universitaires Toussaint Louverture".
Important progresses have been made over the last decades in Haïti, in terms of primary and secondary education. However, there is now an important dis-balance with the university system which is cruelly underdeveloped. Each years, there are 10 times more students concluding successfully their secondary education than the whole capacity of the higher education system. Haiti is desperately lacking university professors ! (which is why I'm very attached to my work with the PhD students there)
However the plethora of private institutions makes it difficult to get a clear picture of the actual (human) resources in the country. Together with Bénédique Paul and the Collège Doctoral d'Haiti (CDH), I'm currently constructing a database that aims ultimately to identify all Haitian graduates.
I'm also collecting evidence on the schooling system to better understand the motivations behind the erection of private schools by the very poor. More generally, I intend to look at the working of the Haïtian education system, accounting for its actual characteristics, in particular the very fact that there is no quality control for the schools.
Utilities and basic services:
Among the issues of fundamental importance I discovered in this process, is the question of how to price water. Together with Justin Leroux, I'm currently designing pricing schemes that allow:
- to have users jointly cover all the costs of water services,
- essentials needs to be met for each of them,
- the costs of discretionary consumption (beyond essential needs) not to be supported by the whole society but by the single users responsible for it.
We recently published an introduction to the subject (together with an exposition of our methodology), in the Bulletin de l'AMQ (in French):
- "Tarifer l'eau de manière équitable".
We ultimately contributed to the theory of fair pricing with the paper
- "Accounting for Needs in Cost-Sharing".
- "La tarification de l'eau: un outil pour réduire les inégalités et inciter à la maintenance du réseau".
I'm currently working to extend these research lines in two directions. First, by looking at the consequences of a pricing scheme for the (internal) working of organisations. Second by developing a system of alerts for the operator that should by of help to improve the management of the network but also potentially to price water more fairly.